– I was attracted for several reasons, but the main thing is that the professorship is in mathematics and didactics - not just mathematics or mathematics didactics. I did my thesis in mathematics but has also become more and more interested in learning from a behavioral perspective. My strength is that I know what research is in both mathematics and learning. There are different worlds, but mathematicians and researchers in pedagogy – as well as other subjects – can find common interests. So I hope to build bridges between researchers in different subjects, says Timo Tossavainen.
A language of thinking
Sweden, like Finland, has trouble attracting future teachers to mathematics and natural sciences. A difficult problem, but Timo Tossavainen thinks that a new view of mathematics education can be part of the solution.
– Mathematics is a language of thought and everybody should be interested in developing their thinking skills. One problem in mathematics education is that you concentrate too much on solving a series of computational data. It would be more exciting and useful to investigate how many different ways there are to solve a problem - and find a new surprising way to it!
What research questions do you want to work with during your time at Luleå University of Technology?
– For example, with the development of new teaching materials and teaching in digital learning environments. In mathematics, it is particularly difficult to exploit the potential of computers, as it is difficult to write math on computers. I appreciate the traditional ways to study, but there must also be sensible ways of using the modern world's possibilities to support collaborative and interactive learning of mathematics.
With him to Luleå, Timo takes his wife Anne, who is also a math teacher, and their three children.